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which are not convenient; being of the burden of sin, to drive hell off 'filled with all unrighteousness, it into its decreed place, and in the fornification, wickedness,
final issue to make the earth his tousness, maliciousness; full of own dwelling-place, and live with
envy, murder, debate, deceit, ma- man upon it.f lignity; whisperers, back-biters, And as to the means of bringing haters of God, despiteful, proud, all this about—as to the remedy boasters, inventors of evil things, which God has ordained through disobedient to parents, without Christ, to enlighten this dark world, understanding, covenant-breakers, to heal its sin-disordered frame, to ' without natural affection, impla- restore health to its constitution ' cable, unmerciful.”e Behold the we behold it in the Church of Christ. frightful tendencies of fallen nature It has pleased him to redeem and to corruption and putrefaction! It sanctify in the first instance a little is manifest, that the earth must portion of our race, that it might groan and heave under the burden as a holy first-fruits consecrate the of such a race of beings; that she lump. He having first sanctified must be deformed with crime-a our nature in his own person, is blot in the fair universe of God- proceeding to sanctify it in the peran image almost of hell; and that, son of his elect Church; that so he such being her condition, she must might go on to sanctify the residue demand some extraordinary means of mankind, through the Church, in of preservation-she must owe her the dispensation of the fulness of very continuance in being to the times. The Lord has ordained his mediation of an all-prevailing Inter- Church to be the light of the world cessor; and she must demand the -the salt of the earth; and to you application, of no common remedy my brethren it is said, (at least to as to prevent even the whole body of many of you as are converted, and mankind from becoming one mass of have the grace of Christ within irretrievable pollution : much more you) " Ye are the light of the does she demand to roll back the world: ye are the salt of the earth.” tide of corruption, and bring again
And let us not underrate the enlife and health.
dowments of the Church, and preSuch a prevailing intercessor has sume to say within ourselves, the world in Christ! By his taking poor ! how inadequate a remedy for hold of our nature and offering it up · the world's wants ! how utterly to God in his own person, a clean 'incompetent to meet the and holy sacrifice, he has obtained whelming mass of evil, and restore the divine forbearance, and pur- it to health, and happiness, and chased a day of grace and all the • God!" The heart of unbelief will means of restoration for a guilty surely speak thus, and laugh at the world. At his intercession the world Lord's remedy. And, alas! this is is holden up, and stayed from sink- too much the feeling of most of us : ing into hell—God can bear to look for we satisfy ourselves with such a upon it : yea, He can find it in his low measure of the grace and power heart to hold gracious intercourse of the Holy Ghost; and the great with it for Christ's sake : yea, He bulk of the body of Christ is satishas determined through him, and fied in like manner with so small for his sake, to cleanse it, to ease it a measure ; that the Church in our
e Rom, i, 28-32.
f See Rev. xxi, 3.
eyes is a feeble powerless thing- quick and powerful, sharper than a Sampson shorn of his locks, dwin- a two-edged sword,”i and the Holy dled down from a giant to a dwarf Ghost, whose weapon it is, and who
scarce able to keep her own wields it with resistless might, are against the world, much less to in- there. And what remains, but for vade the territories of her enemies, the Church to make use, through and carry salvation into the heart of faith, of the former by the help of their citadel.
the latter, and to carry her conBut, let us inquire, What is the quests clean through the earth ? Church, that she should be God's Nothing hinders her, but the remedy for the darkness and disease want of faith, from setting up of the world? We look at her in the kingdom of God all the her outward estate, and think of her world
over, and binding Satan most meanly, and say, she is no in the pit. Her weapons remedy at all! But if you would invincible, and the Lord is her know what the Church is, you must banner : “ Go ye, and disciple all look at her as Christ's ordinance ; nations". and lo I am with you you must look at her as appointed always.”k by the Lord to be the depositary of But the Church is straitened in the Word of God, and the temple of herself through unbelief. She disthe Holy Ghost, and all the various honours her Lord: she thinks meanmeans of grace.
She must be re- ly of her endowments and of the garded as the house of God, the powers which he has vested in her. Church of the living God, the pillar She forgets, that “ her Husband is and the ground of the truth.”g her Maker, the Lord of Hosts is She must be regarded as God's king- his name ; and her Redeemer, the dom set up by Christ on earth-set Holy One of Israel, the God of the up with a view to dispute the terri- whole earth shall He be called ;''1 tory of the world with the Devil, and she thinks and acts as if she and finally to drive him clean off this were the bride of one, whose power field of battle. The Church is the was either limited, or who had meted instrument that the Lord will use for out to her but a small residue of his purging all the world's abominations grace and treasure. And being thus and corruptions; and what by her straitened in her conceptions of her instrumentality he does not subdue Lord's grace, it is unto her accordto himself, he will by her instru- ing to her faith; Christ's arm is mentality dash in pieces and break straitened in his Church, he cannot irretrievably h By her he will con- do many mighty works in her and quer the world, and rule to the ends by her, because of her unbelief. of the earth. She is his garrison Brethren, this is also and well-walled city,—that city of firmity and sin. I say our, because, the great King, from whence that which is the sin of the whole body he sallies forth to dispute pos- collectively, is the reproach and sin session of the soul of man with of the several members individually. the strong enemy; and within her We all straiten Christ's power, and walls are laid up ample stores, shorten his arm ; we look at our and all the artillery of war—" The own feebleness, and say, What Word of the living God which is can we do? we cannot keep sin out
8 I Tim. iii, 15.
h Rev. ii, 26. 27. i Heb. iv, 12.
1 Is. liv, 5.
k Matt. xxviii, 19, 20,
of our own borders ; how then can no strength to put forth against it; we possess the gate of our ene- but we should rather rise to the ' mies?” But is this the question fight, as Israel when led on by with believers in the Son of God Joshua, to drive out the enemy and 'What can we do?' The unbeliever possess the land for God.
« For the may ask it; but the christian looks
weapons of our warfare (if we know out of himself to Christ his Lord, how to wield them,) are not carnal; and says, “ What cannot Christ do? but mighty through God, to the He is my strength, and I can do pulling down of strong holds, castall things through Christ, who ing down imaginations, and every strengtheneth me.”m It is not high thing that exalteth itself Christ's will that his people should against the knowledge of God, be straitened; for " when he as- ' and bringing into captivity every ' cended up on high, he led captivity ' thought to the obedience of Christ, captive and gave gifts to men, and having in a readiness to reyea, even to the rebellious also,
venge all disobedience.” r These that the Lord God might dwell weapons, dear brethren, used by us among them.”n
He sent the Holy in the spirit of faith and prayer, Ghost with all his gifts and graces would enable us to master ourselves ; to dwell in the midst of his Church and they would enable us to subdue for evermore ; and thus he possessed the world to Christ; at least to such her with a Spirit, before whose in- an extent as the divine will has prefluence all other spirits are com- determined: First, enlarging our pelled to retire, bafiled and over- own borders, by bringing into fel
Greater is he that is in us, lowship with the body of Christ than he that is in the world.”O such as should be saved under the
Who art thou, O great mountain ? dispensation of an election of grace; before Zerubbabel thou shalt be- and secondly, extending Christ's come a plain."P
government and dominion over the It was in the prospect of the com- consciences and conduct of the ing of the Holy Ghost to dwell in world, and placing it, though not the Church that our Lord said, “I converted, in a state of professed 'beheld Satan as lightning fall from subjection to the Church. It will · heaven;" “ Behold I give you pow- be given to the Jewish nation, in
er to tread on serpents and scor- the future history of mankind, to pions, and over all the power of the convert the world. This is not enemy, and nothing shall by any given, it is true, to the christian means hurt you.”q My brethren, Church ; but much is put within her if the Church knew her strength, reach which she has not achieved. knew what powers her Lord had in- She has not risen to her duty. If vested her with, and what endow- the Church of Christ had done her ments he had bestowed upon her; duty,—if we each in our day, and if we each one knew individu- generation, and place, had put forth ally; then would not the Church as our strength as members of that a body, nor we as individual mem- body, which is anointed by her bers thereof, lie down (as is too much Head with the Holy Ghost,--surely the case) in our shame and weak- the world would by this time have ness, overcome of sin, as if we had known through the Church, what
m Phil. iv, 13.
n Ps. lxviii, 18.
0 1 Jolin iv, 4. p Zech, iv, 7. r 2 Cor. x, 446, .
q Luke x, 18, 19.
prays it may know; state bordering (to say the least,) that the world may know that on apostasy. And at home, what is Thou hast sent me, and hast loved the condition of the people among " them as Thou hast loved me." whom we dwell ? Had the world been brought to country leavening for Christ, through know this, how different would the influence of the Church that have been its posture now! We dwells in her midst ? Is our imshould not then be called upon to mediate neighbourhood leavening witness the awful sight which we through our influence? What effect are now forced to contemplate- has our profession had upon our viz. Christianity confined to a small several families and households ? portion of the globe, and the rest of how has it operated on our children ? the world shut up to heathenism Dear brethren, let us inquire and and the Mahomedan imposture : search out what has been the effect and not only so, but (which is still of our profession upon others. Has more awful) Christendom, the cradle it been a powerless profession; a of the Church, the place in which powerless exhibition of the Gospel the Woman of the Apocalypse of Christ; an exhibition convincing
brought forth the man child, who none, converting none : or have we was to rule all nations,” —Christen- been as lights shining in a dark dom casting off the authority of her place, giving light to those around Lord Christ, trampling under foot us? Has the Gospel so wrought his Gospel, and lifting up the heel in us as to persuade men of its diagainst him! Where is the salt of vinity, and convince them that it is the earth ? Where the light of the power of God unto salvation ? the world? What have we been To convert mankind is not in our doing? What has the Church done ? power, but to convince mankind is “Like as a woman with child, that the obligation and duty of every one
draweth near the time of her de. of us who believe. The Church is ' livery, is in pain, and crieth out God's witness : Ye are my wit' in her pangs; so have we been in nesses saith the Lord ;'u and every
thy sight, O Lord : we have been disciple of Christ has it bound ' with child, we have been in pain, upon him to be a witness for Christ we have as it were brought forth in the consciences of all who are wind, we have not wrought any conversant with him, “ by manideliverance in the earth, neither festation of the truth commending have the inhabitants of the world ' ourselves to every man's conscience
fallen.” These words which the in the sight of God.”'v Prophet puts into the mouth of the establish not that witness in their Jewish Church and people, we may consciences, one great end of our apply for the most part to ourselves; profession is lost; and it may then for we, as a Church, have scarce be fairly questioned by us, how far wrought any deliverance in the we have been faithful to Christ, and earth, neither have the inhabitants have been led by his Word and Spirit. of the world fallen under the do- Ye are,” says Christ, minion of our Lord through us. of the world. A city set on a hill The distant nations of the earth cannot be hid. Neither do men are yet heathens; the surrounding light a candle and put it under a nations are for the most part in a 'bushel, but on a candlestick, and
s John xvii, 23.
t Is. xxvi, 17, 18.
u Is. xliii, 10.
V 2 Cor. iv, 2.
it giveth light to all that are in the Now, dear brethren, are we by ' house. Let your light so shine the grace of God cleansing our own · before men, that they may see way, and purging out the corrupt
your good works, and glorify your humor which our constitution has · Father which is in heaven."w If inherited from our father Adam ? we do not by our conversation con- and are we really and truly doing strain men to glorify the grace of the part of salt to those who come God in the Gospel, what do we? into connection with us?
Are we Dear brethren, let it never be striving to impart a salutary inlost sight of by us, that, if we are fluence ? to counteract the operation christians, we are salt; and that the of the fall ly shewing forth, both property of salt is to season and by word and work, the redemption preserve. Salt does not itself easily of the Lord Jesus Christ? Are we corrupt; neither does it permit that giving men to see the healing, holy to corrupt with which it comes in power of the Gospel on ourselves-contact. For salt is an emblem of how it lifts up the fallen man, reguthe grace of life in the heart. It is lates his affections, and reinstates the kingdom of God with power him in the image and favor of in the soul. It is the presence
It is the presence of God ? and are we fervent in spirit, Christ's Holy Spirit there. He that (like the pungent, active salt which hath this salt will purify himself eats its way) throwing our souls from all pollution of the flesh and into our exhortations and our words? spirit: the salt within will eat out When salt comes into contact with the principle that corrupts, and the body it is intended to cure, it cleanse both the heart and way; loses no time in developing its latent and he that is this salt will operate virtue : scarce is the body touched in like manner upon others—at least by it, than it is made sensible, it is his property to endeavour after that it has been wrought upon by this end. It is true there are some a counteracting influence. bodies to be found that are already make the grace of Christ within us too far gone in corruption for the thus to be perceived by those who salt to do them good; and others have to do with us?
have to do with us? Are we a light there are, which exhibit some pro- to them that are in darkness ; a perty which repels the wholesome reproof to them that are sinning action of the salt. So it may be in
So it may be in against the light they have; a guide the moral kingdom : some are found to them that are out of the way? so hardened and given up to sin, Do we spread a holy influence that all the example, instruction, around us; causing the grace of and admonition of the most godly God in Christ Jesus to be seen are utterly unavailing towards them. and felt, and casting a net as it The Church has often to complain— were to enclose those within our
We would have healed Babylon, reach? Or do we continually suffer but she is not healed.”'s But yet
But yet those who come near and touch us the property to heal and save was to depart without discovering they manifested in the disposition evinced have touched that, which had life in
we would have healed ;"—the it-touched salt, which seasons all salt exerted its power, but it met it touches ? Thus, alas! it has been with that which neutralized its to à deplorable extent with the activity.
professing Church in the heart of
1r Matt. v, 14-16.
. Jer. li, 9.